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Food Web

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Interacting with Wildlife

Grade Level: 6-12

Common Core Standards
RS.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.

Content Areas: Science

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals:
Students will become familiar with categories of organisms within food webs.
Students will categorize organisms based on direct experience or research.

Description/Sequence:

  1. This lesson could be used before or after a field visit to Lake Champlain or another field site.
  2. Introduce the lesson by reviewing the concept of food webs and the terminology for where organisms fit into the web.
  3. Have students record as many organisms as they can for each level of the food web. Encourage them to be as specific as they can (e.g. perch, robin, centipede).
  4. When students have completed their own lists, have them pair with one or two other students to share and expand their list as appropriate.
  5. Bring the class together to discuss their responses. Have them share their lists and how they classified them. Clarify any misclassifications. Questions that might be included are:
    • Which group of organisms was easiest to list? Most difficult? Why?
    • Which group of organisms has the largest population in the natural environment? Why?
    • How does the food web sustain itself?
    • Where do people fit into the ecosystem?

Materials/Resources: Food Web Worksheet (pdf)

Assessments: Informal assessment of worksheet responses and participation.

Special Considerations: If the lesson precedes a field visit, students will have to rely upon previous experience outdoors. The teacher should check to be sure that students are aware of what lives near the water as opposed to more distant ecosystems.

Extension: Students may want to do research on classes of organisms that are less familiar (e.g. detrivores, ferns, freshwater mollusks).